Preamp pedals are a waste of time and money

None more black

Gold Supporting Member
So, I’ve been trying loads of preamp pedals over the last three years with the idea that I could have everything on my board: easy to carry round, (roughly) the same tone at home through headphones (with cabsim) as at rehearsal, on stage etc.
I bought and sold Victory Sheriff and Kraken, RevivalDrive Hot Rod (custom and regular), Mooer Cali IV, Friedman BE-OD deluxe and regular, Strymon Iridium, Joyo American sound, Tubesteader Lightkeeper (with pedals in front of it). Probably some others I forgot. I could never get it to sound really great through my power amp (tried return of an old combo, Seymour Duncan PowerStage, Fryette ps-2) or through my headphones. Finally gave up, bought a Marshall JCM2000 head for a lot less than some of these pedals cost me and immediately got the sound I wanted. Good through speakers and through headphones (using the Fryette).
The moral is: quit tinkering and just buy a valve head.


I really like Diezel's pre-amp pedals.

The combination of amp and pedal is important. Pedal platform amps are the best option if you have a pedal collection.

For example, your BE-OD pedal into a Marshall Origin will sound pretty close to how 80s metal sounds.

They are never the same as getting the head itself, but there are plenty of distortion pedals and amps that are horrible combinations. Try to match the pedal with an amp that has the same power tubes as the amp you are trying to replicate.
I recently got the kraken and i really like it. Get my pushed cleans through my amp (laney pro tube lead 50), hard rock in mode 1 and super heavy/lead mode 2. It did take a bit of fiddling to get a decent balance in tones between pedal and bypass tones. But hey, nothing wrong with a JCM2000 either


Silver Supporting Member
I consider the idea of going direct as a compromise for the sake of convenience in certain situations such as making a portable rig that’s easy to plug into the PA or using in a recording setup so you don’t have to have amps on at volume but my ideal is still to use a tube amp.
I love my preamps and have no problems getting great sounds out of all of them. I have them on a switcher and using the switcher in loop 2 of my hx fx. Goes right into tube or mosfet power depending on which amp I’m using 4CM with. Sounds great with both power amp types though.

I have valve heads also and SS heads


The combinations of preamps, all solid state analog amp-in-a-box styles ones as well as more general purpose tube preamps that makes up my "amp-less" setup works really well, giving me a tone I am extremely satisfied with, and as you said, combined with a cab sim, in my case a faux, EQ based, one, it has the advantage of me sounding pretty much the same weather practicing at home through a headphones amp and a set of quality studio grade headphones, a poweramp and full range approximately flat frequency response cab or passive PA speaker at band rehearsals, or live though a venue's PA system.

Of course it does require of you to be able to use such a setup properly, as it does no doubt require more fine tuning and thorough dialing in to work optimally than most traditional guitar or bass amp systems.
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